Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Holidays Are (Nearly) Here Again...

Just under a week left. Why we can't break up on Friday is anyone's guess... but it could have been worse: next Wednesday was supposed to be an INSET day (kids out of school, teachers in), but we put in four extra two-hour after-school sessions, which means that school really does break up on Tuesday!

The reason that middle-aged people reminisce about the holidays starting earlier "in their day" is that the INSET days (or Baker Days, named for Kenneth Baker, the Education Secretary who introduced them) used to be tagged on to the Summer holidays instead of interspersed at odd times during the year. These "odd" days are, I suspect, a real pain for anyone who has to organise childcare, but as so much of the INSET stuff is contracted out to "specialist" providers, I guess that they couldn't arrange for it all to happen during the same week all round the country. I don't know exactly what they used to do in the "olden" days - I've only been teaching for the last decade - but I do know that we never had INSET days when I was a schoolgirl, and we always got a minimum of six weeks' holiday in the Summer... and every now and then it got to be a glorious seven !

Anyway, I loathe INSET days. If they are arranged for the whole school, then they are rarely of much use. The ones prepared by external agencies are the worst: the speakers are usually dire, and they commit all the "sins" we teachers get hammered for... talking continuously for over an hour, poorly prepared audio visual aids, etc. etc.

In addition to INSET and parents' evenings, we also have after-school meetings. Some are more useful than others. Meetings during the last three weeks of the academic year seem pretty pointless, and are really little more than an exercise in box-ticking... however, this afternoon's meeting was one of the better ones. We were split into Year teams, and, as I'm taking over a Tutor Group in September (while their regular tutor is on maternity leave), I was able to meet my fellow tutors. I chatted to my predecessor about some of the "characters" in the tutor group - I think I shall have my hands full. Our meeting was refreshingly short, and finished with a game of Giant Jenga... the loser having to prepare the first assembly for the Year Group in September...

I didn't lose (which was a relief!) though I have been left with a sneaking suspicion that my colleagues are a little crazy...

4 comments:

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

Never heard of any of this crapola. I went to school in Canada. We got out in June. And didn't need any bureaucratic excuses. I think it was just that they were, by June, as sick of us as we had been of them all year.

Ches said...

When I was a French teacher in Lincolnshire, we used to listen on INSET days for the linguistic ticks of the speakers and then keep a cricket score. It helped keep us happy until we could get to the pub at 4pm!

miss book said...

when I was a teacher, we didn't have inset days at all; the expectation was that as trained and qualified teachers we should be up to the job and be allowed to get on with it, unhindered, after the first 'probationary' year.However,During that year, there was a guy from the LEA who told us (probationers) not to show offence when the children misbehaved......

The Cellarer said...

At our In Service days, as they are called up here, our school very rarely has outside speakers as they get slaughtered in evaluations, as you say they come at great cost. I have come away from some of these commercial lectures cursing the loss of a morning / afternoon of my life.

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